The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) president Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday castigated minister of local government Savior Kasukuwere on the recent wave of house demolitions saying that the act was diabolical and a gross violation of human rights.
By Nyasha N Mukapiko
Tsvangirai said this while addressing journalists for the first time this year at his Harvest house offices in the capital.
He said the ongoing demolitions of houses was not new as the same government in 2005 embarked on a nationwide Operation Murambatsvina which according to the United Nations, left 700 000 people directly affected through the loss of their homes and about 2.4 million people were indirectly affected.
“People must know that it is government destroying people’s homes, we have directed our councils not to destroy people’s homes but to ensure that those with destroyed are relocated to properly planed settlements under the direct authority of an elected local authority council. Most of these settlements being demolished were unplanned dwellings encouraged by Zanu-PF itself which the same government is now destroying”, Tsvangirai said.
Tsvangirai, who is the former Prime Minister in the inclusive government of 2013 said he had instructed councils to relocate the stranded homeless people to properly sanctioned areas.
“We have a minister of local government who is a political commissar of Zanu-PF, who is interfering with the independence of the council. It is enshrined in the constitution that council shall be governed by local authorities but we have seen Kasukuwere going to Gweru to dissolve the whole council.
“Kusukuwere lost in a court of law because he has no power to interfere in the running of council,” added Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai added that minister Kasukuwere was using his political commissar’s office wrongfully to undermine the independence of local authorities, however he said his party was going to challenge and built a strong case against him in at constitutional court.
Last year, during a full council meeting councilors complained over the involvement of the minister in trivia issues highlighting that he was encroaching in their territories thereby bringing progress to a halt at ward level.
Councilors who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that the minister’s interference was only there to stir confusion in the local authority so as to put the blame of failure on the MDC-T since its councilors forms the majority of council.
Many families in some parts of Harare which include Budiriro, Glen-norah, and High-glen among other areas were left vulnerable as government embarked on the demolition of illegal houses which has come to be popularly known as “Operation Murambatsvina 2”.
Meanwhile City of Harare with effect of the 3rd of February 2016 enforced a ban on all housing cooperatives as a new measure to counter land barons.